Bill protecting homeowners groups from Covid-19 liabilities passes

Bill protecting homeowners groups from Covid-19 liabilities passes

Brian Bergen

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Brian Bergen’s bill that will protect homeowners associations from civil lawsuits against Covid-19 exposure or transmission passed the Assembly Thursday.

“This is a win for those homeowners associations that chose to keep communal areas closed in 2020 due to liability concerns relating to Covid-19. My bill will allow them to open those areas at their discretion while protecting them from lawsuits should any residents or guests be exposed to or come down with the disease,” Bergen (R-Morris) said. “Condominium and townhome residents can get back into their shared pools and gyms.”

Most insurance policies held by associations exclude coverage for communicable disease outbreaks, which could make opening common areas a costly mistake. The bill (A4979) will protect associations only against claims of negligence, a move the Community Associations Institute of New Jersey supports.

Bergen’s bill, however, does not provide immunity for “acts or omissions constituting a crime, actual fraud, actual malice, gross negligence, recklessness or willful misconduct.”

The Senate bill (S3584) passed June 3.